Preston North End verdict: They showed just how much they wanted to win against Luton Town

Preston North End fans had been waiting 23 years to see their side win at Kenilworth Road and they had to out-manoeuvre train strikes and endure a heat wave to see it.
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There was just short of 900 at Luton Town on Saturday to watch their side win 1-0, three points that in the end they fully deserved.

It was not vintage PNE, that instead took place on Tuesday night in the 4-1 win over Huddersfield Town, but it was a side to North End that we know quite well.

Brad Potts nets his side's only goal.Brad Potts nets his side's only goal.
Brad Potts nets his side's only goal.
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There is one thing you can always say about this PNE squad, and it has been the case for some years now, and that is that they are an honest bunch.

There are no bad eggs, they’re all good people and they all give everything to the cause.

Anything other than 100 per cent on Saturday and they let their lead slip, that is, 100 per cent in 32 degree heat in a ground that is notoriously tough to travel to.

That’s why it is such a big win for Ryan Lowe’s side, it could be a catalyst to really kickstart their season after faltering a little bit in the opening two league games.

Ali McCann battles for the ball.Ali McCann battles for the ball.
Ali McCann battles for the ball.
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They have not played too badly, just not hit their stride and this could be just the result to see them put a run of form together.

Taking a step back, they are unbeaten in the league so far, with two away games. It’s not bad going but more was there for North End, and can be moving forward.

They were second best to start the game, but that can often be the case at Luton. They are slick on the ball and know their ground well.

That storm was weathered however and North End found themselves a way into the game.

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Brad Potts’ flying scissor kick volley was extraordinary – it was a goal worthy of winning any game.

The overlapping run from Andrew Hughes to give Robbie Brady the space to cross, the delivery itself being fantastic and the finish that is out of this world – the goal is something you can watch on repeat over and over again.

Then came the battle. In searing heat it was down to North End to make it hard for Luton and they did that. The Hatters had plenty of shots but none that really tested Freddie Woodman.

The defensive organisation was remarkable, on many occasions a loose ball would just present itself to PNE’s defenders or deep midfielders rather than Luton’s forwards, that’s down to good organisation and putting the opposition off their game.

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Lowe went with the same 3-4-2-1 that he played at Huddersfield, with Ali McCann and Ryan Ledson the two changes from the last league game.

It was a big ask for Troy Parrott to lead the line on his own but he did well with what he had and brought others into the game.

All of the others being him were doggedly doing the leg work.

Luton are a very good side and Lowe got it spot on tactically, they went to do a job on their hosts and it worked to prefection.

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You cannot legislate for a wonder goal but once they had that, they managed the game very well.

They are a very solid Championship side and to not have conceded in their opening three games, and in reality not really having looked like doing, it says a lot about the way the players are being coached.

The solid foundations are there, should PNE pinch a goal, whether it be a flying volley or a ricochet off a backside, they have the capability to see the game out and for just one goal to be enough.

There cannot be enough said about the work rate and application of the PNE team on Saturday, in such heat too, it showed exactly how much they wanted the win and how much they want success this season.

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There are just a couple more pieces to finish off the puzzle and there is no reason not to be quite optimistic for what is ahead.

On Luton however, it is best not to go into too much detail on what the experience of travelling and being at Kenilworth Road is like…

The home side came out of the blocks quickly and had control of the ball and territory but they could not turn it into a clear cut chance from open play.

Carlton Morris had their first good chance of the game 12 minutes in, getting on the end of Luke Freeman's cross to have a free header in the middle of the box but only aim it at Woodman.

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Then came the opening goal, Brady’s arching cross finding Potts who threw himself five feet into the air to smash the ball beyond the Luton ‘keeper. One that will be watched time and time again for many years to come.

The home side could not find fluidity in their attack and PNE's dependable back line stood firm, with Allan Campbell stabbing the ball at Woodman from two yards out from a corner their best chance of the half.

Preston had time to have another go, Brady trying his luck from the edge of the box on his right foot just two minutes from half time but that was saved low down by Horvath.

On the hour mark Potts broke forward from right wing back and stood an excellent ball up to the far post and found Andrew Hughes forward from centre back who had time to pick his spot, heading low, but a Luton body got in the way.

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There was a tense ending to the game, as wave after wave of Luton attacks came forward but were repelled by the resolute rearguard of PNE.

The Hatters could do nothing to find enough to break through the back line, with North End managing the game smartly.